Monday, September 27, 2010
How To Take A Trip Down the 5
First Get all of your Stuff and put it in your car. The only reason anyone would drive to Southern California from the north state is because one would need to take a lot of one’s Stuff, including one's puppy dog.
(Unless, of course, you are a truck driver and get paid to do it,
or you have a crippling fear of flying,
or you own several children and Auntie Grandma lives at the other end of the state.)
The Stuff you are taking must include your ipod with some selected play lists of your favorite sing along songs. I always take my tambourine, too. Now don’t try this unless you can keep the rhythm without thinking about it too much. It could take your mind off of the huge amount of driving you are about to do.
The next preparatory activity is mental. Realize that the trip is long. It is boring to a normal person without a tambourine. There isn’t much to see, other than flat farmland.
There will be a few glimpses of the aqueduct; the vehicle Southern California people employ to steal water from the North State. Someone told me it is one of the three manmade things that can be seen from space. The other two are the Great Wall of China and the pyramids. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s interesting to think about between songs.
Back to the mental preparation; as you are getting on the 5 from the 44, give yourself a little pep talk. Remind yourself that there is no reason to hurry. It’s a long drive and you might as well drive a casual seventy miles per hour. Set your cruise control and get behind a Walmart eighteen-wheeler.
Decide to just stay there in the “rocking chair,” as we used to call it back in our CB days. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the tunes.
I usually do this for, oh, about until I get to the olive-selling town, which is about 40 miles into the trip. Then for some reason I feel the need to get over in the passing lane. Suddenly there are new rules for driving.
Put the tambourine into the passenger seat. Push down on the gas pedal. Pass every car and truck in sight until you come to a stretch where there are no other vehicles. Re set the cruise control to seventy-five. You won’t get a ticket for going only five miles above the speed limit.
As other cars begin to join you on your personal highway space, play the “See how long you can go without stepping on the brake and popping yourself out of cruise control” game. This game can involve some close calls and it certainly keeps one awake. The main rule of this game is, you can step on the gas to make yourself go faster than the other cars around you, but no braking.
When you tire of this game, or see a gnarly accident that reminds you that it can happen, get back in the rocking chair and pick up your tambourine. Avoid getting behind any truck carrying any sort of livestock. (Trust me on this.) Tomato hauling trucks should be avoided too, as they bounce tomatoes out all up and down the 5. I’m pretty sure this is not good for the paint on your car.
Before long, you find yourself at the grape vine. Put the tambourine down, as you will be going eighty and eighty-five before you know it.
This speed will make up for the brisk twelve miles-per-hour you will be going when you get in Los Angeles traffic.
Exclaim to yourself that there are more people within your sight now than the entire population of where you live. Remember clearly why you moved out of that place.